The Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves are scheduled for first pitch at 7:20 p.m. EST in Atlanta at Truist Park. The Braves are coming off a 5-4 win over the Diamondbacks to get the series started last night. Huascar Ynoa pitched a productive game, as he went 6 innings with just 2 hits and 2 earned runs allowed. Luke Weaver didn’t get off to the same start, and that was essentially the difference in the ball game on Friday.
Weaver conceded 6 hits and 4 earned runs through 5 innings of work. The Diamondbacks really need a strong season out of Weaver if the Diamondbacks are going to find a wildcard. That especially goes for Madison Bumgarner, who is going to have to get into form for the first time in his career in the desert. Bumgarner has been a major bust for the Diamondbacks.
He signed a five-year $85,000,000 deal with the Diamondbacks in 2019. The San Francisco Giants didn’t appear too eager to re-sign Bumgarner. It’s clear that they believed Bumgarner wasn’t worth the money any longer, despite being the franchise pitcher in San Francisco since 2010. The Giants knew that Bumgarner was heading in the wrong direction in his career. However, the Diamondbacks have to hope that he can pitch serviceably enough to keep in the rotation.
The Diamondbacks are off to a 9-11 start this season. They’re in the incredibly tough NL West and can only hope for a wildcard. That’s not going to be easy either for the Diamondbacks. It’s rebuild time for a Diamondbacks team that has to accept reality, though the outlook in the future is bright. Signing Bumgarner made no sense then considering the position they were in and is even more confusing now. They traded Paul Goldschmidt in 2018, and then months later signed an aging Bumarner to a five-year deal.
The good news is that the future looks bright for the Diamondbacks. They have some young talent coming up in the pipeline that should contribute soon. Unfortunately, the Diamondbacks could be stuck with this Bumgarner contract, though. Bumgarner is expected to get the nod after finally pitching well in his most recent outing. He looks to build on that performance, with Drew Smyly countering on the other side for the Braves on Saturday evening in Atlanta. Head below for our free Diamondbacks vs. Braves pick on April 24, 2021.
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Madison Bumgarner was able to get on track against the Washington Nationals last week in a 5-2 win on the road. Bumgarner lasted 5 innings, conceding only 5 hits and 2 earned runs in the victory. It was a huge sigh of relief for Bumgarner, who was getting hammered up to that game. In his previous 13.2 innings going into that performance he allowed 17 earned runs.
Even with the solid outing, Bumgarner still hasn’t found any consistency since 2019 with the Giants where he recorded an ERA of 3.91. Bumgarner fell off in his first season with the Diamondbacks. He posted an ERA of 6.48 and 1.44 WHIP through 9 games. In his first three starts of 2020, Bumgarner was in even worse form than that.
Despite the positive outing from Bumgarner versus the Nats, he still owns an abysmal ERA of 8.68 and .407 OBA. Let’s keep in mind that Bumgarner is only a 31-year-old, which isn’t particularly old for a pitcher. However, his velocity hasn’t been dropping like a rock since he left the Giants. There were some signs of it declining in his final season in San Francisco, but not enough to be overly concerned.
Even though Bumgarner looked good against the Nationals, I’m not fully convinced that he’s “back”. The Braves have been solid at the plate with 4.97 runs per 9 innings for sixth, and second in the majors with 1.47 home runs per game. Note that the D-backs are 30th in the majors as a pitching staff, with an average of 5.42 runs against per 9 innings of work. Fellow lefty, Drew Smyly, hasn’t been off to a sharp start this season either.
Smyly heads into Saturday with an ERA of 5.73 after having problems with the deep ball in two starts. Through 11 innings on the hill, Smyly has given up 3 home runs, which has led to his troubles early in the 2021 campaign. He was smacked for 5 earned runs in his most recent outing against the Phillies. The Diamondbacks have had a lot of success against Smyly, with a .353 BA and .591 OBP in 34 at-bats. They’ve notched 3 home runs and 8 RBI during that stretch. A high-scoring game is the likely outcome of this one.